Twitter on Aug. 10 added a Fast Follow feature that will let anyone in the United States get tweets on their phone. Twitter wants to eliminate the barriers to entry to better compete with Facebook.
Twitter, whose tweeting roots lie in SMS messaging from
mobile phones, August 10 said it added a Fast Follow feature that will let anyone in the United States get tweets on
their phone, even if they haven't signed up for Twitter.
Previously, mobile phone users had to be Twitter members to see
tweets from the handset. No longer, but those who want to get followers or appear in
a user's list must create a Twitter account.
Twitter wants to eliminate the barriers to entry on its
service to attract more users. The company leaders are ambitious and would love
to amass the type of following Facebook enjoys.
The leading social network
boasts more than 500 million users worldwide. For Twitter, which has more than 100 million users, to
approach that number it needs to broaden its exposure on the desktop and mobile
"This is a simple way for people to get information
they care about in real-time," wrote
Leland Rechis, the user experience lead for Twitter's mobile team.
"For example, let's say you want to get Tweets from
New York City's office of emergency management (@NotifyNYC). Just text 'follow
NotifyNYC' to 40404 in the U.S."
Rechis wants users to test out Fast Follow by typing in @username
they see in a store or on a billboard while on the go.
Fast Follow without an account is available in the United States only
for now; Twitter is working with its carrier partners to expand the feature's
Twitter has done a lot on the mobile front in 2010,
adding applications for
devices and accelerating its location-based services for smartphone
Rechis, who was directly involved with the Twitter for
Android app, said users can also manage SMS tweets from their desktop computer.
When users see other users on Twitter.com, they can hover
over their name or avatar and click on the phone icon. Whenever that person
tweets, the user will get it as an SMS message on your phone.
Users may also manage alerts or turn text messages from Twitter
on or off. To set an alert, users may send "on @username" or
"off @username" to 40404.
Similarly, to start and stop receiving Twitter texts, users
may send the command "on" or "off" to Twitter, or manage
this from the setting page.